PREGAME: Can the Bayou City get back in the state basketball conversation?
At our annual VYPE Houston basketball photo shoot in early October, I took a moment to look around the gym – there is a ton of good-looking talent in Hoopston.
So, why can't the Bayou City bring back some basketball hardware at the private and public school level?
I know that elite talent comes in waves and Houston has had its share of late like McDonald's All-Americans De'Aaron Fox (Cy Lakes), Quentin Grimes (College Park), Jarred Vanderbilt (Victory Prep), Justise Winslow (St. John's) and the Harrison twins (Travis). But only Andrew and Aaron Harrison won a state title.
Take the girls. National recruits Charli Collier (Barbers Hill) and DiDi Richards (Cypress Ranch) got close, but couldn't close. The last superstar with a title was Manvel's Brianna Turner (Notre Dame), who won in...2014.
Some might say that Houston is going through a talent drought right now, but could that help?
Basketball is a TEAM sport, people. A TEAM sport.
Dallas is dominating Houston right now. Yes, they have talent, but they are balanced.
So, what gives?
Houston is so polarizing. It's not unified. So many kids are transferring here and there from public to private schools. It happens every year and it's hard to keep up with. I get it, there's only one ball to go around and everyone is trying to get their minutes and shots. Everyone is trying to be the "Man" or "Woman" on their team.
That's great for getting recruited, but it's not great for coaches trying to win titles.
Here's another theory. Are there too many high schools diluting the talent? Dallas has super schools like Duncanville (4,451 students), Allen (6,664 students) and Plano (5,197.5 students). Cy-Fair, Fort Bend, HISD, Katy, Alvin and Humble have all built new schools, chopping up the talent and Katy ISD is slated to open its ninth high school next year.
So, here's a quick history lesson. Over the past 20 years, there have been 50 opportunities for Houston teams to win state if you count Class 6A, 5A and 4A titles. Houston has won 13 boys titles.
Yates has won three times and Willowridge has two. Look at the teams who have won. Great TEAMS and great coaching. Cy Falls and North Shore were so balanced, while Yates is always loaded with athletic ROLE players. Ronnie Courtney has three titles – one at Bush and two a Willowridge – great coaching.
On the girls' side, Houston has five state titles – three with the Ogwumike sisters Neke, Chiney, Olivia and Erica. They are an anomaly.
How does Houston get back in the conversation? It's not hip or cool, H-Town has to go retro and get back to TEAM ball with ROLE players. Sprinkle some stardust in there and watch the trophy cases fill up.
Cypress Falls, 2016
North Shore, 2014
Cypress Woods, 2015